ASIA – The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has partnered with the UK based multinational inspection, product testing and certification company, Intertek to enhance sustainable rice production and global food security.

The collaboration will see Intertek use rice DNA markers developed by IRRI in a joint initiative geared at equitable sharing of knowledge and provision of better service for all Intertek clients in the rice ecosystem.

The agreement allows broader distribution and active use of IRRI’s DNA markers for marker-assisted rice breeding programs (both public and private sector programs), as well as use for quality control, along the rice value chain.

IRRI’s ‘marker-assisted’ breeding programs employ an integrated breeding platform that shortens the breeding cycle while minimizing resource requirements.

The fact that Intertek agreed to provide a volume of sample analysis free of charge to IRRI boosts its own breeding programmes.

“The cooperation between IRRI and Intertek will allow rice breeders and consumers all over the world to access low density DNA markers to screen for high value traits, including new tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses,” said Patrick Stolt, global product line leader at Intertek.

“IRRI’s ground-breaking and comprehensive R&D work will allow Intertek labs in India, Australia and Sweden to serve customers both on a global and local level by providing low-cost and fast-turnaround genotyping services.”

Through partnerships, IRRI is expanding the innovation impact on rice value chains.

In March this year, IRRI together with Bayer, the German multinational agricultural company signed an agreement to develop a comprehensive, science-based, agronomic package adapted for direct seeded rice production in Asia.

This was followed by various collaborations including a partnership with the government of South Korea in advancing rice research; also in Vietnam, IRRI announced it was working with farmers to ensure sustainable rice farming and boost its rice industry.

“The partnership with Intertek allows us to leverage our innovations and accelerate impact on rice value chains, for the benefit of rice farmers,” said Rémy Bitoun, head of IRRI Tech Transfer.

“With Intertek’s extensive experience in genotyping services for the seed and breeding industry, IRRI’s research on rice DNA markers will reach more stakeholders, speeding up development of much needed novel rice varieties.”

Its research, development and innovation has been approbated especially for Golden rice having met safety standards and approvals in three global leading regulatory agencies that is Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and Health Canada in February and March this year, respectively as well as US’s FDA.